WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland reported 17,260 new daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest number since November, data by health ministry showed, as the country grapples with its third wave of the pandemic.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Poland has exceeded 1.8 million, including 45,997 deaths.
Officials attribute the sharp increase in cases partly to the spread of a much more contagious variant of the coronavirus first identified in Britain.
A health ministry spokesman on Wednesday said 30% of those tested had the British variant and that the peak of the pandemic was expected towards the end of March or the beginning of April.
“Today we won’t reach 20,000 cases but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect that in the coming days,” Wojciech Andrusiewicz told web portal wp.pl.
New pandemic restrictions could be announced later this week, government officials have indicated.
Poland already has tight limits on social gatherings, schools are largely closed, with the exception of classes for most of the youngest children, and restaurants can only serve meals for delivery.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko, Pawel Florkiewicz, Joanna Plucinska and Anna Koper; Editing by Alison Williams and Gareth Jones)